The cystine/glutamate antiporter system xc-, with xCT as specific subunit, exchanges intracellular glutamate for extracellular cystine. It is highly expressed in the central nervous system, mainly on astrocytes, and has been shown to be the major source of extracellular glutamate in various regions of the brain, such as the striatum and hippocampus. This extrasynaptically released glutamate can affect synaptic neurotransmission. As the physiological function of system xc- in the central nervous system remains poorly understood, we studied how system xc- regulates transmission at corticostriatal synapses, one of the two major types of striatal excitatory synapses. Electrophysiological recordings identified a significant decrease in the amplitude of striatal field excitatory postsynaptic potentials in mice genetically lacking xCT (xCT-/- mice) following stimulation of corticostriatal fibers. Further, using electron microscopy, we observed depletion of glutamate immunogold labeling from corticostriatal terminals and their corresponding dendritic spines in xCT-/- mice. Genetic deletion of xCT did not, however, affect the morphology of corticostriatal synapses, the density of cortical innervation or the density of dendritic spines in the striatum. Proteomic analysis revealed decreased expression of a wide range of proteins involved in regulating presynaptic neurotransmitter release in the striatum of xCT-/- mice, including synaptophysin, VGLUT1, and members of the synapsin, septin, and syntaxin families. In addition, kinome profiling identified changes in striatal serine/threonine kinase activity, highlighting ERK signaling as a possible node of kinase dysregulation in xCT-/- mice. Finally, we evaluated the effect of the disturbed corticostriatal communication on the behavioral phenotype of the xCT-/- mice. In the marble burying test, a paradigm sensitive to changes in corticostriatal function, we measured a significant increase in repetitive digging behavior in xCT-/- mice. Whereas spontaneous grooming behavior was not affected by genetic deletion of xCT, we have preliminary findings from the reciprocal interaction and three-chamber test, suggesting aberrant social behavior. Together, our results identify system xc- as a modulator of corticostriatal synaptic transmission that may be relevant to neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by corticostriatal dysfunction and repetitive behavior, such as obsessive-compulsive behavior and autism.
|Conference||Federation of European Neuroscience Societies - FENS|
|Period||24/05/19 → …|